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Subject: Mystery Science Theater alumni have riffed on this!
Rifftrax, the gathering of 3 former castmembers & writers from the classic tv show 'Mystery Science Theater 3000', or 'MST3K' for short, has riffed on this short film and it is available for download for a buck or so from rifftrax.com, and also free to watch on Hulu.com, and can be found at amazon.com on dvd.
It is funny by itself, but Mike Nelson (former head writer and host of MST3K), Bill Corbett (Crow & Brain Guy of MST3K), and Kevin Murphy (Tom Servo and Bobo of MST3K) have taken it up a notch into full hilarity with their riffing of this film. I have seen it and seen it, as I've found it weirdly compelling. The music in this film, as another reviewer has vouched for, ranges from not bad to horrible. I now have the awful song "Who's Got It" permanently lodged in the nether regions of my mind and may have to resort to desperate measures to remove it. If anyone has any suggestions for doing so, please help! I've already tried massive amounts of drugs and that hasn't worked (though I've had fun trying!).
I rate this 5 stars, but only the version by rifftrax. It is the entire part 1, unedited.
Victor Von Psychotron -
Subject: Great theme song
The theme alone is worth a download.
Subject: Caffeinating America
A film made by the Coffee Information Service about the creation of small town coffee houses formed by teenagers to listen to folk music and poetry. There is a 1949 film in the Archive, Law and Social Control that deals with a similar group of small-town teenagers who set up a Teen Canteen as gathering place. That film uses the Teen Canteen as a way of teaching teens about law and social contracts. This film stresses teens' need for self-expression instead. We see lots of shots of sensitive kids stuck in small towns and trying to make the best of it (before they get out). I liked the sympathetic adults who helped set up the coffee houses, probably in the face of some community opposition. And what about Gary's parents, who let him turn their entire basement into a coffee house? When Gary and his friends bring in old chairs (probably from the garbage) Gary's mom suggests buying four of the same chairs at a second-hand store and painting them "a nice color." "But, no, he didn't want that," she says in a puzzled voice. Even though she doesn't really understand him, she accepts Gary for who he is. If all parents were like her, the world would be a better place. Today, Starbucks has so thoroughly commodified the need for urbanity that the coffee house represents that it's hard to imagine a similar movement on the part of teenagers today.
Subject: Pure nostalgia
This bit of film brings it all back to me.
It was 1966, the basement of the First Congregational Church in East Hartford Ct. The East Hartford Youth Council's Diogene's Lantern served up Maxwell House coffee, Dunkin' Donuts donut holes, and every once and a while some really good folk. Yah, we didn't get around to changing the world either, but I'll bet some of the old gang made great changes in their corners of it.
For nostalgia alone ****
Subject: Fun Stuff - Used for Video
We were so taken with this we used it as the basis for the first video off our new record. Great fashions and hair! We don't do folk, though.
Christine Hennig -
Subject: It's the 60s, Man! Groovy! Oh, Wait...
It's the 60s, man, and coffee houses are all the rage. Cool. Except it's the late 60s and the coffee houses have been fully accepted by the Establishment as wholesome alternatives for youth to blowing their minds and blowing up the student union. So organizations like churches and school districts and the YMCA and even parents encourage kids to form coffee houses in any spare basements or vacant storefronts that they can find. This, of course, spells the end of the coffee house as a bastion of cooldom. Still, this is a fun, innocent film, full of enthusiastic geeky teenagers drinking percolated coffee from styrofoam cups and grooving to various homegrown forms of folk, rock & roll, or jazz music which varies in quality from not bad to someone-needs-to-teach-them-how-to-tune-their-guitars. It's full of the bright, hopeful we-can-change-the-world attitude that typified the 60s and would be rudely crushed by the 70s. Of course, I'm a closet folkie myself, so I can't help but enjoy this film very much. It reminds me of all the cool stuff I saw the teens doing when I was a kid during the 60s that I was too young to participate in, and which would all be over by the time I reached my teens in the 70s. Watch another film if you want to know about places like Haight-Ashbury, but this is what the 60s was really like down home in places like Racine, Wisconsin. Sponsored by the Coffee Information Service, which had to wait until the rise of Starbucks to really get going.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ****. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: *****. Overall Rating: *****.
Subject: Nice Time Capsule
"Hey, remember the great Folk Music Scare of the 60's? That crap almost caught on, didn't it?" - Martin Mull, speaking in the 70's
Yes, this occurred during my lifetime, though I was just a pup, probably an infant when this film was shot. Some have said 1969, but that can't be right. Based on the clothes and hairstyles, it has to be before the Summer of Love (that's June '67 to those unaware). I'm thinking 1966 or maybe late '65 at the earliest. Those two guys who sing "Teenage Teen" have to heard a Frank Zappa album, and his first one came out in late '65.
This does prove one thing: the beatnik coffee house was already waaay not cool by the time this movie was shot. It's like the word "groovy," which was coined by pot-smoking black jazz musicians in the 1940's. By the early 1970's when Marcia Brady was saying it, the word was at the end of its long, strange journey to unhipness. Glad this movie exists, because it captures a moment in time that will never return.